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Marching Virginians collect thousands of canned goods for charity

Food and monetary donations go to support the Christmas Store

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech football fans were giving back to their community Saturday. Thousands donated money and canned goods to the Hokies for the Hungry food drive before the football game. It's a fundraiser put together by the Marching Virginians now in its 21st year.

Before supporting the Virginia Tech football team, the Marching Virginians used their music to support their community.

"We have certain cadences that they play and if you donate money they'll play the cadence that you want," band member Katie Ledwell said.

In addition to money, the Marching Virginians accepted canned donations to go to the Montgomery County Christmas Store. Volunteers tried to collect 66,000 cans Saturday, one can for every fan. Fans like Tracy Goforth say they've been supporting the program for years.

"I am an educator here in Montgomery County and so the Christmas Store services a lot of my families that I teach. So I just feel like it's another important community service to give to," Goforth said.

The fundraiser is the biggest source of donations for the Christmas Store, which provides food and gifts for more than 1,400 families in need in Montgomery County. Food coordinator Joan Cliff said to those that need it, it means a lot.

"I had a little boy once and he just wanted a can of New England clam chowder, and we could find it for him and he was just so excited for this little can of clam chowder," Cliff said.

In addition to the Marching Virginians, the New Life Christian Fellowship works to keep the fundraiser going every year.

"We work with the homeless, so I know that there are many out there that are looking to have food for the holidays and may not have family in the area to be able to go and enjoy a warm meal with, so I think this is very beneficial to the New River Valley as a whole," Fellowship member Jonathan Crumpler said.

It's a program that helps Hokies give back to the community that's rooting for them every Saturday.

"It's important for us to give back. Blacksburg gives us so much, the least we can do is give back," Ledwell said.

To find out how you can donate to the Christmas Store, click here.